Amy walking the dogs on Salema Beach on the Algarve, Portugal

House Sitting Portugal – Lagos and life in the Algarve

There was a real treat waiting for us at the end of our 2,080-mile road trip to Portugal, a house sit to rival all others in the sun-kissed Algarve. From peaceful afternoons working on the veranda and sunset dog walks on the beach to chasing down runaway pigs, this is what our house-sitting Portugal adventure was like.

One of our house sitting opportunities, in Lagos, Portugal

House sitting Portugal

One of the things I love about house sitting, aside from the free accommodation and complimentary pets, is being able to temporarily step into someone else’s life. Every time we house sit we get to test out all these alternate realities and learn something about what kind of life (and dog) we want to have in the future. What I loved about this house sit in particular was the quiet routine of rural life.

Sjef the French Bulldog at our house sit in Portugal

Every morning we woke to reliably sunny, often cloudless blue skies. After breakfast, our canine companions Sjef the French Bulldog and Roef, a bouncy Portuguese waterdog, would follow us outside. The pigs Spekkie and Wiefie would be waiting for us to let them out and together, we’d set off on a morning patrol of the 30,000 square-metre property. Along the way, the pigs would stop to forage beneath orange and fig trees.

Working on the veranda while pet sitting Algarve

Days were spent working on the veranda of the house, which the owners have done a stunning job renovating. They’ve even converted a barn into a cottage that they rent out on Airbnb. Whilst we worked the pigs snuffled around in the fields or wallowed in a mud bath, while the dogs lounged in the sun. We cooked healthy meals, got our vegan diet back on track and generally luxuriated in the peaceful rural surroundings.

That was, until the afternoon when Spekkie did a disappearing act. A less-than-happy neighbour paid us a visit claiming a pig had been in her field. We promptly rushed down there to search for Spekkie, only to find the piles of dirt he’d left behind, so we began an hour-long frantic search for the runaway pig. Just as we were starting to fear that Spekkie had wandered off for good, we circled back around to the house where the contrary pig was nonchalantly slurping water from the trough. The trials of house sitting!

The pigs we looked after while house sitting Portugal

House sitting in Portugal and exploring Lagos

After dinner, in the cool of early evening, we’d pile the dogs into the car and speed off to a nearby beach. We’d find these perfect, sandy coves bordered by jagged cliffs and wander their length, watching the dogs race across the sand. The sea was cold and crashing, surfers skating across the waves until the sun started to set in red and orange hues.

Salema Beach at sunset in the Algarve, Portugal

This is our first time in Portugal and so far, the country has left a strong impression on us. Our house sit was located just outside of Lagos, in proximity to dozens of dramatic stretches of coastline and acres of golden sand. Although we’re not huge beach fans, we’ve been won over by the clean, peaceful spots on the Algarve.

Amy walking the dogs on Salema Beach on the Algarve, Portugal

The countryside surrounding Lagos is dotted with tiny Portuguese villages that have traditional taverns and white-washed houses. One afternoon we drove out to the Barragem da Bravura, a huge dam, where the dogs enjoyed a dip as we wandered along forested trails.

Barragem da Bravura dam, Portugal

We were feeling quite at home by the time our sit came to an end. It’s always sad when you have to say goodbye to animals you’ve come to care for, but we drove away from Lagos with a seed of possibility tucked away in our minds. Who knows, one day, perhaps we could return to live a quiet life on the Algarve, this time with our own menagerie of animals?

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Housesitting Portugal – do you want to try it?

Are you looking for house sitting opportunities? We found our house sitting Portugal assignment on Trusted Housesitters, you can find out more about our experiences home and pet sitting around the world in these articles:

Have you ever tried pet sitting Portugal or anywhere else around the world?

  • Agness of aTukTuk
    Posted at 22:07h, 19 October Reply

    Algarve and the whole of Portugal are simply breathtaking. It really seems that you had an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:49h, 20 October Reply

      It was an amazing house sit Agness – we miss those dogs and pigs!

  • Victoria @TheBritishBerliner
    Posted at 14:31h, 23 October Reply

    Portugal is such a lovely country, and it always surprises me that more people don’t visit. It’s small, sunny, has lots of water surrounding it, has fantastic food, and is very fair on the wallet.

    What not to like?

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:13h, 23 October Reply

      Exactly Victoria 🙂 We’re certainly loving it so far and this was pretty much our dream house sit!

  • Wildlife Destination In India
    Posted at 11:58h, 26 October Reply

    Portugal is such a dazzling country…It truly appears that you had an amazing knowledge. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing!

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:04h, 26 October Reply

      Thanks, we love Portugal so far!

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 08:16h, 27 October Reply

    We loved the Algarve when we visited last year, we stayed at an Airbnb property in Lagos, it was beautiful there. I am not surprised you enjoyed it so much…loved your video 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:32h, 27 October Reply

      Thanks Gilda, we would love to go back to the Algarve again, it was beautiful. Glad you enjoyed it too!

  • Pat Hemphill
    Posted at 19:58h, 28 October Reply

    Hi Amy and Andrew……a faithful follower of your blogs. I am an older lady and thinking of TEFL in Portugal, Spain or France in the next few months. (I am also looking at Slovenia) I have taught EFL in Vietnam.

    Could you perhaps tell me (once you have travelled there) which of those three countries are a good choice to do this, please? I realise that the cost of living in France is very high…but I speak French, which helps. I will be using Trusted Housesitters (on your recommendation) and as I am not a party person anymore, I will be living frugally. I also teach English Online…so would need high-speed internet.

    Your advice greatly appreciated…..I enjoy your frank and informative blogs….keep them coming!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:45h, 29 October Reply

      Hi Pat, thanks for reading and following our journey 🙂 So, will you be teaching solely online? If so, then any of those countries would be fine so long as you get an apartment with high-speed internet. Andrew is currently teaching online here in Portugal and it’s working well. For living costs, from our experience Spain is cheapest, then Portugal and finally France. We’re loving Portugal and have found that living costs are reasonable, we’ll write a separate post once we’ve been here a month to break down the costs properly. However, our current Airbnb apartment outside of Porto cost £700 for a month including all bills and high-speed internet, and shopping and cooking at home we spend around £30-50 a week perhaps (for two people). You can definitely reduce that if you live in a more rural location. We haven’t been to Slovenia yet but we’ll be stopping there on our way over to Prague in November, so we’ll let you know how they compare. However, I expect those eastern European countries to be much cheaper.

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:51h, 29 October Reply

      Oh, and there are loads of house sits in Spain and France too, Portugal not quite so much but still options. Good luck!

  • Pat Hemphill
    Posted at 20:13h, 28 October Reply

    Hi again Amy,
    Please, would it be possible to write a blog on Travel and/or Health Insurance? Have you found a reliable and good value for money travel insurance company that you could recommend?

    While in Hanoi I developed a pretty serious lung infection (pollution!) and it took four days for my insurance company to respond to my urgent emails!

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 08:10h, 02 November Reply

    Animals are beautiful and so are both of you i am glad you are enjoying Portugal .Spain tends to over power Portugal and spain is where tourists tend to visit Keep those wonderful blogs coming,love louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:12h, 02 November Reply

      We love Portugal Louisa and we really miss those dogs and pigs! Thanks for reading 🙂

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